One Man, Two Guvnors

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One Man, Two Guvnors
One Man, Two Guvnors.jpg
Written by Richard Bean
Date premiered 24 May 2011 (2011-05-24)
Place premiered Lyttelton Theatre
Genre Comedy

One Man, Two Guvnors is a play by Richard Bean, an English adaptation of Servant of Two Masters (Italian: Il servitore di due padroni), a 1743 Commedia dell'arte style comedy play by the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni. The play replaces the Italian period setting of the original with Brighton in 1963.[1] The play opened at the National Theatre in 2011, toured in the UK and then opened in the West End in November 2011, with a subsequent Broadway opening in April 2012. The second tour was launched six months later, playing the UK, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. The London production closed in March 2014, before a third tour of the UK began in May 2014.[citation needed]


In 1960s Brighton, an easily confused Francis Henshall becomes separately employed by two men – Roscoe Crabbe, a local gangster and Stanley Stubbers, an upper class criminal. Francis tries to keep the two from meeting, in order to avoid each of them learning that Francis is also working for someone else. However, it turns out that Roscoe is really Rachel Crabbe in disguise, her twin brother Roscoe having been killed by her lover, who is none other than Stanley Stubbers. Mixed in with these chaotic events is Pauline Clench who was originally meant to marry Roscoe but is now set to elope with over-the-top amateur actor Alan Dangle. The play includes two extended passages of improvisation where audience members are recruited into the play.[2]


South Bank (2011)[edit]

The play premiered at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre from 24 May 2011 (previews from 17 May) and continued until 19 September. Nicholas Hytner directed James Corden in the starring role of Francis Henshall, with associate director Cal McCrystal responsible for the physical comedy.[3] The play contains songs written by and performed by "The Craze", in a "skiffle band" style, led by Grant Olding.[4] "The Craze" consisted of Josh Sneesby (lead vocals, guitar, keys, accordion, harmonica), Philip James (guitar, banjo, backing vocals), Richard Coughlan (double bass, electric bass, backing vocals), Ben Brooker (percussion including washboard and spoons, drums, backing vocals). The music is written and composed by Grant Olding.

1st UK tour (2011)[edit]

Following its engagement at the National in London, the play began its first national tour of UK prior to a West End engagement in the Autumn. Stops included Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (27 September–1 October), Plymouth Theatre Royal (4–8 October), The Lowry, Salford (11–15 October), Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre (18–22 October) and the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh (25–29 October).[5]

West End (2011–14)[edit]

The show then made its West End debut at the Adelphi Theatre, with Corden still in the lead role. Previews began 8 November 2011, ahead of an opening night of 21 November.[6] The run ended 25 February 2012 and subsequently transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 2 March 2012, with Corden's role being taken over by his first cover Owain Arthur.[7]

Beginning performances 4 February 2013, Rufus Hound took over the title role, with Arthur returning to the role on 23 September 2013 after his run with the tour. Other replacements throughout the run would include Hugh Sachs as Harry Dangle, Angela Griffin as Dolly and Kellie Shirley as Pauline, reprising her role from the tour.

The London production will conclude a three-year run on 1 March 2014.[8] This comes with the announcement that the show will return to tour the UK for a third time.

Broadway (2012)[edit]

The play then premiered on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre with an opening night of 18 April 2012, following previews from April 6. James Corden reprised the role for American audiences.[9][10][11]

The production received four nominations for the Outer Critics Circle Award: Outstanding New Broadway Play, Nicholas Hytner (Outstanding Director of a Play), James Corden (Outstanding Actor in a Play) and Tom Edden (Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play).[12] Tom Edden went on to win the Outer Critics Circle Award for 'Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.'

For the 66th Annual Tony Awards in 2012, the play received seven nominations: James Corden for Best Actor in a Play, Tom Edden for Best Featured Actor in a Play, Nicholas Hytner for Best Direction of a Play, Grant Olding for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater, Mark Thompson for both Best Scenic Design of a Play and Best Costume Design of a Play and Paul Arditti for Best Sound Design of a Play.[13] Corden went on to win his award.

The limited engagement concluded 2 September 2012.

2nd UK tour (2012–13)[edit]

A second UK touring production starring comedian Rufus Hound in the lead role, began 25 October 2012 at Curve in Leicester, on a run through 4 November. It then visited Theatre Royal, Newcastle (6–10 Nov), Glasgow Theatre Royal (13–17 Nov), Belfast Grand Opera (20–24 Nov), Blackpool Grand (27 Nov–1 Dec), Norwich Theatre Royal (4–8 Dec), Leeds Grand Theatre (11–15 Dec), Llandudno, Venue Cymru (2–5 Jan 2013), Salford The Lowry (8–19 Jan) and Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre (22–26 Jan), before ending with a run at Theatre Royal in Nottingham (29 Jan–2 Feb). Richie Hart, Philip Murray Warson, Oliver Seymour Marsh and Billy Stookes formed "The Craze" for this tour.

International tour (2013)[edit]

Following the second run of the UK, the production continued to tour to other countries from 25 February until 29 June 2013. Debuting at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong as part of the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival, the tour subsequently visited Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide, Australia, The Aotea Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, The Sydney Theatre in Sydney, Australia, before culminating at the Playhouse in Melbourne, Australia. Owain Arthur leads this cast, with his role in the London production being taken over by Rufus Hound.

3rd UK Tour (2014–2015)[edit]

Beginning performances 14 May 2014 at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield, One Man embarked on its third national tour of the UK.[14] The final performance was in Wolverhampton on 21 March 2015.[15]